HAIP Letter to John Blackwell President -BVA

HAIP Letter to John Blackwell President -BVA
10 May 2014

John Blackwell (BVSc MRCVS)

President – BVA

British Veterinary Association                                                               Date: April 22nd, 2014

7 Mansfield Street

London, W1G 9NQ

Tel: 020 7636 6541

Fax: 020 7908 6349

Email: JohnBlackwell@bva.co.uk

Website: www.bva.co.uk


Subject:News published on DailyMail.co.uk with your statement by Abdul Taher and Valerie Elliott on: 22:05, 12 April 2014, updated on: 15:59, 13 April 2014

Dear John,


On 12th April 2014, there was news published in the Daily Mail in which you were quoted. However I looked through scientific literature and could not find any reference confirming your statements. In fact the evidences I found were contradictory to what was quoted. Could you please clarify the doubts raised below quoting references if scientifically proved:

  1. You were quoted as having ‘confirmed the latest scientific research on unstunned slaughter which states that animals like sheep feel excruciating pain for as long as 30 seconds after their throats are cut’. During discussions with media journalists there is generally a woefully inadequate explanation of the death process of an animal and a misrepresentation of the science available. As you will know death is a process and is not instantaneous. After slaughter the animal loses consciousness and then it loses brain function where it can be classified as ‘dead’. The time to unconsciousness always occurs before the time to loss of brain function/response. It is the time to unconsciousness that is the focus from a welfare perspective. Sheep are known to lose consciousness between 3-7 seconds (Blackmore &Newhook, 1976) a point verified by FAWC (2003) who stated that ‘the scientific evidence shows that sheep become insensible within 5-7 seconds of the cut’. Gregory & Wotton (1984) reported 14 seconds for loss of BRAIN responsiveness. Comparing ‘times to unconsciousness’ to ‘times to loss of brain function’ is like comparing apples & oranges. They represent different points of the death process and it is the time to unconsciousness that is critical from a welfare perspective. If you have evidence of sheep feeling pain for as long as 30 seconds please can you share.
  2. You also stated in terms of potential breaches of legislation that ‘an animal does not witness the other being killed’. You may or may not be aware that this has not been a legal requirement for some time. Please confirm if this is indeed the breach you were mentioning.
  3. Labelling purely for ‘stunned’ or ‘unstunned’ ignores the wider welfare issues with other husbandry procedures. Any welfare labelling system should incorporate all welfare ‘insults’ along the animal’s life so customers can make a fully informed choice. There presently exists standards such as Red Tractor, RSPCA Freedom Foods, Soil Association which allows consumers to purchase meat NOW that they know will have been stunned.


  1. Blackmore, D.K. &Newhook, J.C. (1976) Effects of different slaughter methods on bleeding sheep. Veterinary Record, 99, 312-316.
  2. FAWC (2003) Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing Part 1: Red Meat Animals. Farm Animal Welfare Council, London, UK.
  3. Gregory, N.G. & Wotton, S.B. (1984) Sheep slaughtering procedures 2. Time to loss of brain responsiveness after exsanguinations or cardiac arrest. British Veterinary Journal, 140, 354-360.

News can be download- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2603360/Horror-halal-slaughterhouse-Shocking-undercover-film-shows-needless-suffering-livestock-butchered-without-stunned-first.html

I would appreciate your response to the point I raised above.

Kind Regards

Mohammad Amir(MSc Meat Sci& Tech, MSc Food Sci& Tech)

Technical Director

Email: amir@halalassure-ip.co.uk

Mob: 07501986876


Note: This letter is only addressed to Mr John BlackWell – President (BVA). We are not objecting to the reasons for conducting the undercover film and this matter is between Simply Halal and Daily Mail

Download PDF…



  1. I agree and sharing this link everywhere! It’s wrong to discriminate against halal or kosher + NON stunned animal meat!!

    I’m at school but we (me + my school/outside-school friends) have NO ISSUES At ALL with being served or buying Halal/not-stunned meat anywhere!! :)

    I don’t agree at all with restricting or labelling food that’s prepared using cultural methods different than normal methods. It’s just being racist imo to discriminate or attack other cultural ways of preparing meat for food we all eat, so I support this letter! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>